Walt Disney Studios has made made two significant promotions to bolster its film group, following the exit of 20th Century Studios vice chairman Emma Watts in January.
Steve Asbell, 20th’s executive vice president of production, has been promoted to president. He will report directly to Walt Disney Studios co-chairman and chief creative cfficer Alan Horn and co-chairman Alan Bergman. Asbell has been with the company since 2002, before Disney acquired Fox’s film and TV assets, and has fulfilled his EVP role since 2012.
Vanessa Morrison, the president of the Fox Family division, has been promoted to head of all streaming production under the Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures label. She will oversee development and production for Disney Plus films, fed by the Disney live action label and the 20th Century label. Morrison will report to Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production president Sean Bailey. Prior to her Fox Family role, Morrison spent a decade at the head of Fox Animation.
Asbell’s credits include numerous hits with marquee directors, like “The Wolverine,” “Logan” and “Ford v Ferrari” with James Mangold, and “The Martian” and the forthcoming Matt Damon-Ben Affleck reunion “The Last Duel” with Ridley Scott. Morrison oversaw the lucrative “Ice Age” franchise, as well as the “Rio” films, “Peanuts,” and “Book of Life.”
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As a result of the restructure, Philip Steuer will lead physical and post production and VFX as president of production in the WDS motion picture production division, and Randi Hiller has been named EVP of casting at both Disney live action and 20th Century Studios. Steuer and Hiller will report into both Asbell and Bailey.